‘Welch called the mask “a great thing…an important contribution in the prevention of spray infections”…Cole agreed: “This is a very important matter in connection with the prevention of pneumonia.”’ – The Great Influenza: The Story of The Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Berry
No, this is not a post about masks. It is, however, about a low-stress way to stay informed.
Before I go into that, I want to start with my old strategy: what Tim Ferriss called the “low information diet”. I had seen, first hand, how divisive the news and talk radio can be – triggering the most base instincts of their viewers / listeners to keep them coming back whilst the audience continues to become angrier and more stressed. For those reasons and much more the low information diet was appealing to me, but I took the low-information too far and was ignorant to all current events. Especially with all that is happening today, I needed a new strategy.
Enter: the round up + long form strategy.
The two-headed approach that has saved me from ignorance, but has kept me sane is a combination of daily or weekly round-ups paired with carefully selected long-form content.
For example, if you want to stay up to date on what is going on in the business world you could stay reasonably up-to-date on it with an email subscription to the morning brew and receiving a weekly copy of the economist; if you wanted to learn more about the history of infectious diseases, reading a book like The Great Influenza will give you a historical perspective and understanding of the nuance in a topic that the average Fox or CNN watcher would not have.
In short, find a couple reliable sources that come in a finite form (subscriptions to podcasts, newsletters, etc.) instead of you going to a never ending source that’s whole business model is based on keeping you at their platform as long as possible (twitter feed, news channel, etc.), and pair that with a topically relevant book each quarter.
Contrast this approach, which is usually how I operate, to my approach during the week of the election (constantly checking the news to have the latest “updates”), and the inverse relationship between productive output and stress was staggering. Since then I have happily moved back to a daily round-up I read each morning and then get on with having a productive day – focusing on what is within my circle of control.
Do you have any strategies you would recommend for news consumption, or sources of news to recommend? If so, I would love to hear them.